It seems that stress is often the reason why I’m not making art, but recently the tables have turned and stress has become the driving force to get me back into the studio. Instead of it keeping me from creating, it has been driving me to create.

It was the encouragement of a dear friend last year who challenged me to “paint the stress I was feeling”. Sure, I have painted some emotionally expressionistic pieces before, but I had yet to literally paint my stress. I did not premeditate the composition or the medium, I just started making marks. I just created and tried not to edit, knowing that this piece was more about process than product.

What emerged actually took me by surprise. The piece began to take on a form that resembled a physical organ, a knotting of flesh. Before panicking and getting totally grossed out, I realized that the artwork was giving me an honest opinion of my present state. It was courageously revealing more of what was going on internally than I was able to recognize myself.


” Internal Thread ”

Mixed Media in Resin

This piece represents the internal entanglement of stress which can reek havoc in our flesh. But God can take those internal knots and slowly unravel them. The threads that once bound us, He uses to weave something new of great beauty and worth. Replacing chaos with order.

This piece is nothing like any work I have ever created before. Originally, I didn’t know whether to embrace or reject it. And, showing it to others, didn’t help the uncertainty as there was commonly a long silent pause, leaving me to wonder if it is too gory or gutsy. Does it make people uncomfortable? Would people begin to wonder if I’m doing OK? Maybe I should just put it in a closet, shut the door and move on to “normal”, “safer” subject matter. Or, is there a place for this kind of honest work?

Well, my question was answered just this last week when I received this art exhibition notice in the mail:


I can’t help but feel a sense of confirmation. Yes, there is a place for artwork like this even in a church gallery.

So, I’m going to forego the closet and try submitting this piece, determining NOT  to stress over its possible rejection. This piece has brought me a greater sense of self awareness. Not to mention, that through the process of doing art focused on stress, it has ironically brought me rest and inspiration.